Since I arrived on Capitol Hill, I have become even more aware of the U.S. funding that has flowed into Iraq. American taxpayers have already paid $379 billion or about $8 billion dollars a month. I believe support from the United States to Iraq should not be open-ended, and the U.S. and Iraq must work together as we move forward. The Iraqi government and the Iraqi people must take responsibility and help rebuild their country.

That's why I introduced H.R. 1325, the Partnership for Iraq Reconstruction Act of 2007, which requires the Iraqi government to match all U.S. funds spent for reconstruction in Iraq. The U.S. has already committed more than $38 billion in funds for Iraq reconstruction and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs that the Iraqi Government is committing $10 billion of its own funds for reconstruction. I believe this is an opportunity to hold the Iraqi Government accountable for their progress by giving them a greater stake in the reconstruction efforts.

Reconstruction in Iraq must continue to guarantee progress and to help foster economic growth for the Iraqi people. Many extremist groups in the Middle East feed off the inability of governments to provide services for their citizens. Requiring the Iraqi Government to fund reconstruction projects will give them legitimacy in the eyes of the Iraqi people and provides a united front by showing factions within Iraq that the government is committed to stabilization and progress in the country.